tv Francis Fukuyama Identity CSPAN December 25, 2018 3:30pm-5:01pm EST
thank you very much. guest: thank you. >> you can watch them and any of our programs in their entirety at book tv.org or type the authors name in the search bar at the top of the page. .. i have a disgruntled microphone. so i think i'm going to hold it. well, good evening. charlie copeland, president of
the intercollegiate studies institute. in a minute, you'll hear from cherie harder, president of the trinity forum and i'm honored we are jointly hosting this program this evening. members of the isi community believe than a simple axiom. and that is think, live free. think, live free. the trinity forum believes that the distraction and stability polarization and pathology of rh stems in part from the lack of spiritual and character formation and leaders. there are few opportunities to grapple with, reflect on and discuss fully what matters most. in other words, both organizations believe deeply that an informed leaders are well read come, intellectually curious and deep thinking.
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as i said, where the college and university space and it is an unfriendly, uncaring place for those who don't wholeheartedly wholeheartedly -- wholeheartedly buy into the identity politics of the current age. we directly confront this maelstrom and support the extremely bright young leaders who have the audacity to question campus dogma. you can help assure that we develop the next generation of conservative leader. in short, you can help save america. you can help save the west and indeed you can help save the world. and that's not bad for a day's work. so with that, i would like to introduce cherie harder, president of the trinity foreign. ms. carter served in the white house as special assistant to
the president and director of policy and projects for first lady laura bush. early in her career she served as policy adviser to senate majority leader bill frist advising later in domestic social issues and serving as liaison and outreach are to outside groups paper in 2001 until 2005 she was a senior counselor to the chairman of the national endowment for the humanities where she helps the chairman designed and launched we the people initiative to enhance the study and understanding of american history. [applause] >> thank you, charlie for that kind introduction and welcome to all of you. tonight evening conversation on identity and dignity appeared on behalf of the forum it's a real pleasure and honor to partner with you and appreciate all the work you've done charlie and e. josh is all to help make this a
reality. we are also grateful for the support for it tonight or in a democracy fund which invests in efforts to ensure political system is able to withstand the challenges and deliver on its promise to the american people and their president, joe goldman has joined us tonight along with several members of the democracy fund staff and putting margaret gal, paul watters, liz ready, martinelli, jessica harris. thanks so much for joining us. i also want to give a special shout out to the senate pages who have joined us. i understand 18 out of 30 of the pages in the u.s. senate are here tonight. we're glad to have you here. as well as thank you to each of you for making it out. it's never fun a receipt to rush-hour traffic -- by rush-hour traffic and we are honored you are here with us tonight. many people want to be here tonight but could not make it.
so if you have friends among that number come if you're not we're live streaming tonight's event. you can let them know right now and will have video up on our website and youtube channel before long along with photos and clips on facebook uw life treating the event tonight as well as #identity and dignity so you can follow along there as well. it's also a pleasure to see so many new faces in the audience. for those of you not familiar with the trinity foreign, we were to provide the space and resources for leaders to engage life's greatest questions in the context of faith. and we do this by providing readings and publications which drop on classic works of literature that is worthy enduring questions of life and the humanities with timely issues of the day.
as well as sponsoring programs like this one tonight to connect leading tanker is tanking leaders and engaging mostly questions of life and not mentally coming to better know the author of the answers. as we noted at evening conversations before, it's been said that questions essentially boiled down to three. what is a good person, what is the good life and what is the just society. wrestling with each of those questions is profoundly influenced by her sense of identity. on what we base our sense of personhood, individuality and dignity and the obligations, commitments and relationships that flow from that understanding. for much of history, the constraints of everyday existence largely defined. one was born into the village where one was likely to die for the same market were shipped in the same way as one's parents and relatives buried someone chosen by her family.
do the same people throughout your life. choice is limited, but one's sense of self was given an uncomplicated. technology, economic opportunity in the freedoms that attend liberal democracy have opened up extraordinary choices. opportunities and options for all of us such that her sense of identity is no longer fix, but open and often fluid. because anti-mobility autonomy grows, the power and influence of the institutions over us and historically particularly institutions of moral and religious authority, that the institutions of civil society have been some ways land of their or their influence. the commitments, obligations and relationships that once bonded us to each other and help to find who and whose we are weakened. for many, disappearance of strong communities, moral
authorities and stable institutions has led blissful freedom but a profound sense of alienation. such isolation has in turn fueled on an individual level a search to be part of a group and on a societal level a marked increase in populism and tribalism as a various identity group seeks recognition influence and power. in his provocative new book, our speaker tonight argues that tribalism and identity politics that has arisen for a quest for dignity and respect is actually undermining stability of the liberal democratic order that makes human rights and religious freedom and freedom in general possible. the increasing politicization of our identities and the inevitable resentment that follows if we perceive our own identities lends itself to an apocalyptic politics where compromise is seen as an attack on all fours and accommodation
to self negation. so, is it possible to construct or to recover a sense of individual identity that recognizes and grounds are identity in something other than tribalism have a shared interest or resentments are or resentments or ethnic nationalism and can we cultivate a shared identity built around common ideals of faith that encompasses an inclusive and unifying vision of what it means to be an american. these are important questions and challenging ones and it's hard to imagine a scholar who can engage them with more intellectual courage, thoughtfulness and sober was inventor speaker tonight, and dr. francis fukuyama. france is a political scientist and economist and made senior fellow at stanford university's freeman institute for international studies as well as
the director of its center democracy, development and the rule of law. he previously taught the pharmacy school at john hopkins as well as the george mason university school of public policy or served as a researcher at the red corporation as deputy director of the state department policy planning staff and in addition to his latest book which we've invited him to address tonight, he's the author of political order and political decay, the origins of political order. perhaps his most famous comedian of history and the last man trust in america at the crossroads. as a council member of the international forum for democratic studies, fellow of the world academy for the arts and sciences advisory council member of the democracy fund and alumni of harvard university where he received his phd. after doctors transfers customers run transfers customers running tamil duprey traitor. economic policy studies at aei, and american enterprise and to
to previously serving as executive at the center for politics and government ut austin as well as a special assistant to the president for policy for president george w. bush in a policy advisor for mayor stephen goldsmith in indianapolis. he's the author of transforming charity towards a results-oriented social sector. the editor of religion and public square in the 21st century and the co-author of the soul of civil society and has widely published in publications such as the "washington post," "wall street journal" and the weekly standard and national review. after frank's talk randall offered a brief response followed by a moderated conversation between our two speakers. frank, welcome. [applause] /
>> so, thank you cherie harder for that excessively generous introduction and thanks to isi and the trinity foreign for having me here. i'm astonished at the crowd tonight and i'm really glad there's so many young faces than it. thank you all for caring. let me get right into the book. so quite honestly, the reason that i wrote this book has to do with the elections of 2016 or the british go to leave the european union, the brexit vote and donald trump's election in november of 2016. i think that both of these events are connected to a broader series of developments around the world which are oftentimes referred to as the rise of a kind of global populism in which you have democratic leaders that are legitimately elected, but they pursue policies that are oftentimes economically populist, but more importantly i
believe the institutional basis for modern democracy. not simply a matter of elections. it's a matter of the rule of law, checks and balance is, constitutional constraints that limit executive power in a well functioning democracy in places like hungry and poland and turkey, you can't elect the leaders that have gutted their judiciaries come eliminated any kind of hostile opposition press that would hold them accountable. we can her personal bureaucracies and basically cleared away obstacles to their own kind of personal rule. i hate to report that i believe something like that is afoot in the united states as well but we do have a president that seems to not appreciate the importance of some of these check and balance institutions and husband doing a lot in a similar vein to weaken them. this i think represent a broader
movement and what i've been trying to do the last couple of years is to understand the source of this populism and why we are in this current situation. so the usual explanation is an economic one, where globalization is seen to have vastly expanded the output of goods and services in the global economy. everybody has gotten a lot richer, but that wealth has not been evenly distributed. i think anyone that takes a basic trade area course would understand that although everybody gets richer in the world, not every individual and every country gets richer and in particular, less educated workers in rich countries have been losing employment and opportunities to rising middle class in places like china, india, bangladesh and so forth. there has been a stagnation in middle-class wages in the united
states, and britain and other developed countries. basically no increases in per capita income for a very extended period of time and that obviously has generated a lot of backlash and unhappiness is feeling the delete that were responsible for creating this liberal world order are very much out of touch. however, the subject of my book is not bad because i think there is a cultural identity dimension to what has happened that oftentimes is not appreciated as one of the drivers of this. what is identity? a word that only came into use with erick erickson in the 1950s and the term identity politics only came into circulation in the 70s, 80s, 90s associated with a certain type of politics developed democracies like that of the united states. as i tried to explain in the book, this is not a recent
phenomenon and it's very deeply embedded in the western tradition. i go back all the way to plato for socrates says okay, with there is a desiring part that wants things. there's a calculating rational part, but isn't there another part, a greek word that sometimes translated as bearded menace. this part of the soul demands recognition of one's inherent dignity and addition to food and drink want other people to respect us, to value us at a certain rate and if we don't get that recognition, we get angry. and because of this recognition it is inherently political. it draws us into the public square because we want other people to recognize that. as an old comp.. and the modern world it is developed in different ways because the concept of dignity
is shifted. for plato, dignity was due to warriors, to an aristocratic caste that risks their lives. in the course of the development of western civilization, christianity played a very important role in shifting the concept of dignity not to certain limited class of warriors, but to all human beings insofar as they have the capacity for moral choice. it is the human moral agency that and that the root of christian dignity and becomes a universal characteristic. so you ask why would anyone think all human beings are equal? they are each on this capacity for moral choice. as the centuries go by this idea, and deceit of this idea that we have an equal dignity and so far as we are equally free to choose -- take the secular form in the writing of writers like other german
idealists. i believe it is actually at the basis of modern human rights and our understanding of rights as defined in the american cons to tuition. in what sense does thomas jefferson assert that all men are created equal? it does have to do with the fact we are equal agents and therefore equally entitled to participate in the process of self-government. i guess the final component of the modern sense of identity is that we deeply believe we have the self that is inside us and that doesn't necessarily correspond to the external social world at the external social world they despise us are not recognized as in the modern aspect is the believe the authentic enters cells is morally more value than the social rules that look down on us and between the authentic inner self and those at external
rules that have to change and that leads you into a kind of revolutionary understanding of the relationship between individuals and the surrounding society. so that is the basic theoretical background but it manifests itself in politics in many ways. it is the basis for the drive for democracy. democracy is about this universal respect for the personhood and agency of democracy that make up the democracy. in 2011 there was a vegetable seller in tunisia who had a vegetable cut that was confiscated by the police. he went to the governor's office and said can i have my car back your daughter talk to them so we doused himself in gasoline, killed himself and that is what triggered the arab spring. the triggered the arab spring because throughout that region, the people that lived in the
state tatar ships identified with the situation. the government was so unwilling to even give him an answer. he did something illegal that's why we took your car. they didn't give him the minimum amount of respect a human being deserves and they said that's basically the commission of all of us in egypt, libya, syria and all these other countries live in government that do not recognize our personhood. a lot of the color revolutions that occurred in georgia and ukraine in other parts of the world against dictatorship, you know, revolution of dignity to face and ukraine in 2013 cherie harder 2014. the word dignity was important because the young ukrainians in the streets protest during did not want to be dragged back into this kleptocratic russian system or had to be personally connect it to the rulers if you're going
to get ahead. they wanted to live in a modern society like that in the european union that would recognize people on a more personal basis. it's not like this is a weird cultural part is for certain kinds of cultures or regions. this is at the basis of our democracy. our democracy recognizes us by giving us right. a right to speech, association, religious belief and ultimately the exercise of agency through the vote, through the franchise in that respect to which we are recognized as equal individuals in a democratic society. the problem is that kind of universal recognition that is the basis of a liberal democracy often times is enough for everybody. particularly when you can take democracy for granted, you begin to see other forms of
recognition. the first alternative to this liberal universal form of recognition was nationalism. a nationalist believes he or she is in the earth of a cultural community that should be represented in politics. all of the german living across central and eastern europe ought to be identified under a single german government for the serbs living in the hungarian empire had a right to their own republic and it is that pressure to change boundaries based on this assertion of group identity that drove the conflicts that ultimately resulted in the world wars of the first half of the 20th century. my own view is a lot of the young man that go off to fight for the islamic state and al qaeda in the middle east are actually not driven by genuine religious piety. they are driven by an identity
problem. especially those european muslims who have rejected the traditional islam of their parent and grandparents, but they're really not fully accepted by the european society in paris or wherever and then the muslim preacher comes along, baghdad he or osama bin laden and says you are a muslim community that is great and glorious come a great history being oppressed. muslims are being killed and disregarded all around the world. you need to come to syria to fight back. i decide to grow long beards, pick up an ak-47 engage in violent conflict. so these are two examples of identity the lead to very bad political results. daily to violence. identity not only drives democracy, but also these forms of politics. now we get to to what's going on
in liberal democracies. if you think about the united states and this is the common use of the word identity. i want to point out this concept is very broad and does apply to a lot of stuff going on outside the united states and other countries around the world. this assertion of identity. in the united states i think the history of this runs roughly as follows. in the 1960s he saw the rise of a number of very important social movements. because of the civil rights movement for african-americans. feminist movement, algae bt movement. movement on behalf of the disabled native americans. all of these groups had in fact become or were invisible to mainstream american society. rates were not respected. some cases african-american rights were actually legally subordinated to those the way
people and what they demanded with the quality. and so, identity politics in america begins with a very just and important striving for equality and especially this equality of respect. i think if you look at the history of the democratic party in the united states and also parties on the left in europe, there is a transformation in the way that they see themselves in the way they see their project. earlier it had been focused area heavily on the working class. in europe a lot of those parties were marxist and so they cared about the proletarian revolution and so forth. but they were seeking as their main political base the dominant ethnic group in our society and that was true of the democratic party as well for 80% of rural
whites in the south voted for roosevelt in the 1936 election. as the left began to shift towards a more identity-based coalition based on the specific grievances of particular groups come a lot of these white working-class voters began to drift over and vote for conservative parties. this has been a shift going on in the united states for some time. in europe a lot of former communist voters in france vote for similar sorts of reasons because the left has seen itself located in this identity space where they feel they don't have a role. this gets a little bit tricky because they want to be careful to say that the impulse to identity politics is a matter of justice. it is a perfectly legitimate
thing because they are members of groups to push back in the injustice suffered by african-americans and women in all of these other groups, it's not the same. there lived experiences are different in are different and therefore the remedies are going to be different. that aspect of it becomes understandable in a natural outcome. i think where identity politics has gone off the rails comes in a couple of different areas. when the group begins to emphasize the way it is different as to the ways it is similar in that they wants to join the larger community, that poses a problem because not every group identity is necessarily compatible with universal values on which a liberal democracy is based. this is the most serious with
muslim groups that express, anti-semitism, subordination of women and are not compatible with the kind of individual agency that we believe people in a modern democracy deserve. it becomes problematic when a given touristic with which you're born custard to find you're born custer defined the way you'll think about politics, culture, even sports and things like that because in fact the premise of a democracy as we are individuals that can make up our mind about important public policies should be limited by the conditions of our birth and quite frankly the identity politics on the left is now stimulated an identity politics on the right. the more extreme versions of
this again i'm sorry to say, it but i believe that entire president has not been healthy for the united states because those people would drag the united states back into a more ethnic understanding of american identity, which is something i have actually thought we had gotten past in the period in the wake of the civil rights movement. so in general, i think we have a little bit of this disease that afflicts other countries around the world where people are not disagreeing over policy issues, higher taxes for more regulation, less regulation, whatever. they are lining at these identity groups into which they are born and that makes democracy much harder to sustain. the solution to this we can talk about in our discussion further, but there is a clear set of
things that can be done. one of them has to do with a focus on national identity. national identity is often times disparaged because it is associated with the out-of-control aggressive as no nationalism of the early 20th century. national identity does not have to be that and it could be something i've labeled fetal identity, which means it's based on a set of ideas and in fact, the way that american national identity evolved had gotten to that point by the end of the civil rights era, where what it meant to be an american is not to be of a certain race or ethnicity or religion but to believe in the u.s. constitution , the rule of law, principal of law, principle of equality embodied in the declaration of independence and if you signed up to those police it didn't matter where you came from you would be considered an american and conversely if you
don't like those principles you can be an american in a way that you can't be on german or un- japanese port on something where the identity is really based on your ethnicity. so that is an important achievement and i think we need to emphasize that. i think the specific identities will continue to assert themselves, but i do think we need to focus on rebuilding a sense of national identity that is creedal based on these ideas that are accessible to the diverse go diverse society that we live in today if we had to emphasize those aspects of identity. it doesn't have to be based on biology. it can be shaped by the leaders, schools, education, the way we talk about our shared history and our shared values and i
think that's an important task that lies ahead of us. civic education i think is appallingly underdone in our school system. if you look at the two steaks on the number of high school graduating high school seniors that can name the three branches of government or even one of the bill of rights, one of the rights guaranteed by the bill of rights is very shocking. you're not going to defend constitutional government if you start out with that kind of a knowledge base. there are other things we can say about immigration policy. i've got lots of opinions about that because that's really the policy issue that is the most in terms of identity issues because people feel with the high level of immigration that has been taking place in a sense national identity has been changed in ways over which we really don't have control. but i'll save that for the discussion.
i'm sorry i went on longer than i was supposed to. thank you for listening and i look forward to the common. caught my >> well, thank you for those words and i look forward to that discussion to follow. thank you to the trinity forum and isi for organizing this. two i've had a lot of admiration for and participated in number prevent is always great. thank you for having me. those of you who don't know much about me, i'm the person about whom you said in some guys responding when you got to e-mail the francis fukuyama is coming to speak at the national press club. so it's great to be with you. this topic of identity is one that in general has been of interest to me for a long time. i wondered for a long time why were all walking around with names we didn't choose ourselves but were defensive of.
you know, our parents chose their names. you might even have bad memories of your parents do not get along with them very well, but if someone says something about your name we are defensive about that. there is this way in which we get enraptured by her sports teams. you can be in a funk for an entire day when they lose in the playoffs. but nobody in the team even notice you. yet you have the sense of attachment to this community is very strong and is something very fundamental to who we are as human beings that we have this deep sense of connection to communities and identities are wrapped up in those communities. that is the first of two points i want to bring up in response to dr. fukuyama's remarks in his books. the sociological phenomenon of our travelers to disposition creating this framework within which are identity politics are becoming so divisive and
poisonous today. as dr. fukuyama said come identity politics are not all bad. with experience changes in workplace behavior. they've experienced in the way policing is done, many of which flow from responses to the call in cry for just this respect to the inherent dignity of specific groups of people. what's especially damaging today is the way in which identity politics has become tribal. we are really more joiners than we are splitters and we joined it sounds track tribes in ways that today are particularly threatening for the ongoing project of american democracy. it's the proliferation of abstract tribalism and want to talk about for a little bit here and think about what to do about it. 1752 david hume wrote an essay in which he talked about the emergence of modern times about politics of principle. parties of principle in contrast
to parties of interest. if you're in a seafaring town on a farm near politics are very much rooted in the way of life that you have. you know this thing going on in modern politics that he called part is the principal. he thinking of the word principle more in those terms but he noted that the way in which emotions were stirred by abstract ideals and ideas for something particularly powerful. we'll join the march on the mall but will show up at the local city hall carried on fixing potholes even though we need balancing across the potholes the very next morning. this is something unique to her nature had been given an opportunity to find solidarity with people over something that's inherently defined identity or principle it can cause great passionate responses within us. under 200 years after that george orwell when i say any sentence an imperfect word nationalism for this phenomenon he wanted to describe a habit of
assuming whole box of people can confidently be labeled good and bad in the habit of placing one group in recognizing no other duty demanded dancing adventurous, this habit of what he called nationalism but was really describing tribalism in the essay was marked by certain things like obsession. any criticism worse were against her group provoke a vigorous and sometimes violent and forceful response. an indifference to reality in what might be outrageous acts by others are forgiven within your group are not even can better to be outrageous when committed by our side. identity politics is generated a crisis of attachment that seems to be at a point where we will see it continue at a pace that this theory is right, which is the more our fundamental tribes of family household community breakdown in our unrestrained
and shift came the desire to join more abstract tribes as all the more powerful. we can talk about that a little more the question-and-answer time for discussion time. a local through the numbers of the social science now at increasing family instability, civic fabric tearing apart, communities collapsing in civic health. should be no surprise that social commentator wrote about a year ago that we've seen this rise in identity politics in people's fundamental attachments become confusing for begin to dissolve. i also want to say when they look down at the street level we can see not all hope is lost in there and might be part of the solution to her problem. while others have documented over the years is increasing polarization we've seen is something to the effect of 50% of parents would have a hard time with her son or daughter marry someone from another political party were up 5% or 50
years ago. we realize we have the strong forces of polarization, some of which we understand, many of which we don't. i think there's also some evidence that the local level engagement within our communities, living out in expressing the project at the local level has some promise. i'll let you consider the following not yet released data my colleagues and at the american enterprise institute have from a survey we completed a 2400 americans. when you ask people where they get a strong sense of community in america we asked them if they have some sense of community and a strong sense of community. 31% said they have a strong sense of community as americans of their american identity compared to 16% who felt that way about their political group and 17% in terms of fairness to be. the sense that you community
with fellow americans because they're americans is something that is alive and well out there. 25% of people said their city gave them a strong sense of community and people who regularly attend a house of worship, 46% said strong sense of community came from that house of worship. our survey found americans of all stripes, raised the age, income and it doesn't matter how you slice it between two thirds in 80% of people think their local communities going in the right direction while 40% think the country is. three in 10 americans say they have actually worked together with the neighbors that they have physical neighbors and their community to solve a problem or make an improvement in the community. three out of 10 is not bad. the data suggest part of the solution is close to home. as much as we promote service and required a time in our schools, programs and policies, the more the big issues like
racism and inequality can become community issues that we all have a stake in overcoming. at the level of policy we learned for reforms in community policing and charter schools, public housing and welfare bedouin communities take responsibility for fixing the problems they can do it. not without friction and not always perfectly but as communities are not abstract identity is. it's been too long since we've thought long and hard about the bedrock of civic life in its role to play here. i think that's an important area for us to talk about us or think about the issue of tribal identities versus actual identities and communities. how you take the latter to essentially we can or moderate properly the former. even if we built on strength of the local level and shift identities they are, we are still buy site by something equally disquieting. a pervasive and even dangerous
crisis that we house. the loss of confidence in transcendence on questions of human nature and what is the best society. in transcendence very simply are those things that are true whether we care about that or not. not only in terms of the truth. not just speaking about truth grounded in faith claims, religious faith claims, but transcendence in the sense that things that are true that are the basis of our rights and probably understanding what human flourishing is. identity politics is rooted in power and interests. it's about advancing power and interest of a specific group. belief in truth it is really discoverable is an important thing for a lot of reasons. it has some very real benefits. is some evidence when you're motivated by truth claims of the
world that you have a tolerance for other people different than you. just this week ambling with religious conservative voters found that religious conservative voters are much more tolerant of immigrants and racial minorities and identity. in some ways he is very much a phenomenon of secular conservatives and as we know they form a strong basis of the president's support. another benefit to role in society is an openness to opposing ideas. there's a value of social science work on scientific curiosity. people legitimately interested in exploring what is true about the nature of things are much more open to debate disagreement and talking with people who don't share their views and disagree with them. generosity is related to transcendence. religious people give more to make it more frequently. so the people of an expressive
on elevation with discovering something true for seen in witnessing noble actions. i don't know how you recover a culture of embracing the pursuit of truth without some kind of massive renewal even in some modernized forum of the liberal arts approach to education. dr. fukuyama talked about the need for civic education and i would go a step further and then there's a certain cratering of understanding of how we inculcate, train and pass on the things that are actually true about our democratic way of life and what we need in order to be successful. we need more than engineers in the heart and sister believe in truth. we people in humanities and social scientists who do too. buildings and bridges can fall down if you don't take truth claims seriously. if engineering.came about you wouldn't trust the buildings and bridges. civilizations and societies can collapse two.
what is true and good about them also means taking back primary schools to these fundamental tasks as well. it's been a generation since allan bloom wrote the students on campus when he was writing are now running things including our schools. perhaps there's an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to do this at the household level. to help explore basic concepts like natural right and natural law through new tools and new types of products. finally, religious renewal away from therapeutic models and away from politicized theology and perhaps back to a cataclysmic model that also not be a bad thing to do. i don't know if we can pull any or all of these things off, but i do think we should try. thank you. [applause]
>> well, thank you for that frank and ryan. we have a lot of ground to cover. we want to make sure we have a lot of time for audience questions as well. looking at this from a 20,000-foot view. the rich and the rise of politics is not limited to the united states, that we've seen not as well as liberalism in different truffle democracies around the world. so what does that but this prompted the shift away from economics to identity politics in the first place and secondly, why the shift towards liberalism will defend liberal democracy that has done the most to expand previously disenfranchised groups? >> well, and i do think the economic explanation is part of the. if you look at who votes for populist parties not just in the united states but across europe,
they have a very similar demographic. they tend to be older, more rural, less educated, not part of this cosmopolitan globalized economy that's done extremely well in recent years. those are the people who vote for putin and russia and hungary. part of it is i think just political opportunism that solve this opportunity by appealing to his definition of hungarian national identities he had to be an ethnic hungarian, which is a problematic way of finding national identity. but he can get a firm political base by doing that because there's a lot of ethnic hungarians in hungary and by the way he's also enfranchise the one who live outside of hungary as well. so part of it is just the rise of these kinds of political opportunists.
i think it is part of the larger push back against the kind of world they're liberal, global and jewish and have created for those people have not benefited enough and are resentful of the fact that passing them by. >> ryan, anything to add? >> not do that. >> community and civil society for most of your career and certainly both preceding and accelerating the rise of identity politics has been the decline of embodied in person community. what do you blame that on? why has community and civil society so tanked and are there any kinds of hopes that you see? >> a great question. i think were still trying to understand why it's been tanking because it hasn't tanked everywhere. as we've seen from a number of different scholars out there including my own college at aei,
charles murray, it's tanked very unevenly. in communities with high portions of college-educated people, dual income households, higher incomes and general, you have a lot more engagement in community still. a lot more participation at the community level. and it's really back him in the upper 20% of america that looks a lot more like the 1950s sword of america that we like to remember in idealistic terms. so it's been very uneven. in some of these places where the rise of populism has been stark as are in areas where you've seen a collapse of confidence in civic institutions, non-attendance of religious and stations. i mentioned a survey they came out this week which shows precisely the secular working-class communities are the ones that are going to church. they are involved in their
communities and they are the ones who are most susceptible to this kind of nationalism spreading and ascended. that is a really difficult challenge for us. culturally it's going to be difficult to turn that around if you're not going to see bottom-up renewal as a matter of policy i think were at a point where we need to how people relocate to other communities. there's some evidence when you do this people take on the habits and characteristics of the community where they go. instead of renewing a dying community from within, it might actually make more sense to how people move around more. i think that's one of the things we have to think about. but there has been -- it's been a long time. kind of a secular decline of participation in local community institutions, fake news organizations particularly by people midway down on the
economic spectrum that doesn't seem to have any forces within it for self correction. >> coming from silicon valley i would have to say technology has probably played an important role in this. there was a long debate set up by bob putnam whether community was dying and i think that as i read the empirical evidence in the wake of that debate is actually stronger than ever. is just that it's occurring not in face-to-face meetings and on front porches. a lot of it has moved online, but unfortunately the nature of social media is perfectly made for identity politics. you've got some crack pot conspiracy theory about how the united states works and if you go online you can find the 100 other people in the country that actually believe that along with you and you can completely shut out any contrary evidence and that's what facebook and twitter
and all of these elegies do. one of the issues is actually how you deal with that. i think we've now come very rapidly in the last 12 months regarding these as heroes of modern life to being villains. i don't think they're actually either but it is a problem we have to deal with. >> with talk about that. things seem to go much better on the local antibody level in the abstract national and international level. of course all of our technology is moving us towards more virtual disembodied kinds of communication. what the rise of social media, twitter came around to the six. it's amazing how much that has changed in person. diminished in income and made it much more virtual. what hope if any d.c. for that?
>> i agree with everything you said and we don't even fully understand what all these forces will do to us longer term. we see some interesting research coming out right now on the amount of screen time and the use of social media as a direct relationship to things like anxiety and depression and behavior of mood disorders. those will be with us for some time particularly when more and more young people at you is that a younger age. i would also say we are all on various digital platforms. we'll use this technology, but not everybody's hater at the local level or lack of participation in their community government and local civil society uses the same way. strong families still matter. religious institutions still matter. these fundamentalist editions are the places within which we learn to practice the kinds of
things are civil society and democratic way of life actually need. you can be on facebook a lot to be tweeting lott. you can be pretty nasty stuff and participate in the fight and yes so go to your kids: how bout that afternoon. people are doing now. the data that i was fighting when they come out with a study which will probably come out within about a month, the first one, it will be a series you start to see some of that. we've seen this long-term decline since the 80s of confidence in the federal government and behind that the state government as well. people's combatants in the local government is the same as it was in the 1970s. 75% of americans think their local governments okay. does that mean they're less prone to corruption and more transparent? no. there's the proximity to that. if you're embedded within functioning institution that you can actually affect and work through and make change, people are still doing not even if they
spent three hours of their day shouting at people on twitter. i totally agree social media makes this identity politics so much easier in so much worse. other fundamental aspects of our democratic and communal life also driving some of the dissolution were talking about. >> in your book you wrote that the rise of the therapeutic model midwifed the birth of identity politics. you mentioned the therapeutic model as well. it is rather uncanny when you think how radically different that approach towards understanding of man is that even say an orthodox christian view of man, which is basically grounded in dignity stamped on us. at the same time the doctrine of original sin. the idea we are bent by
selfishness, in need of love and forgiveness but check on pride and power. in contrast to therapeutic model as he spelled out in your book the idea that was inherently good and liberated from societal constraints and freaky self-actualized. is the therapeutic model compatible with the sustaining of liberal democracy? if so how and if not what then do we do? >> so the decline of the shared religious moral horizon is related to the rise of the fundamental tax in this line of literature's philip reeves book in the late 60s, that's exactly what he said. previously you went to a priest or a pastor for counseling about anxieties you had about your marriage, your job, the way that
you don't with your neighbors and so forth and with the decline of formal religion play in that kind of a role, people then turn to psychoanalysts and psychologists in the data itself took on a therapeutic role. in this respect, self-esteem, you know, became a central issue of the goal of a therapeutic society is to raise people's self-esteem. there is an inherent contradiction in that therapeutic mission because if everybody actually has a steam, then nobody has a steam because ms. actually do do certain things that are estimable than the premise of eric b. is that everybody should have that because everybody should feel good about themselves. that's why in high school graduation everybody get an award for being the best at something because, you know, that's what's going to make them feel good.
i actually had a whole chapter on stanford university in this regard but i didn't put it in the book in the end. .. and there is a quotation from the leader, the black student leader that are pushing for this and he said something very revealing which is that you know, i understand my professors think that plato and rousseau and all of these people are important but they don't understand how that hurts the mentality of people that you know, current of that race and background. and what was interesting was you know, in a sense, universities had taken that to heart.
the day -- making sure that the esteem of none of the groups that have reason to feel disrespected is damaged and that leads them to make decisions about the curriculum that actually don't have any educational justification but heavy therapeutic justification. now society in general survive this framework. i had to say but yes, i think it can. i would simply point to europe. europe has become most secular society probably in human history. and it is much more orderly than the united states and it has good democratic institutions. i've always been very skeptical of these arguments that you actually have to have a certain kind of religious foundation to have or maintain basic social
order. it is not just europe but i think other like asia really doesn't have anything like a western sense. in a very orderly society. so i think that that decline, you can survive the therapeutic though i think is tricky because it really does shift the discussion away from you know, a kind of [laughter] discussion of what really human excellences are and ought to be and what of course, just the model that is everyone deserves i think it is a contradictory and an unfulfilable goal. >> i think it is a problem. i think the rise of the therapeutic model and the way
it's expressed itself even in the workplace and the ways that we communicate through media, is a real problem. and i think that we probably don't talk enough about is the way in which kind of human aspirations the potential, sort of a model of pursuit is really, important as we are raising young people and teaching our college students and our kids before them about what it actually means to try to fulfill the potential that you have because what we do know is that having ãi think the therapeutic model doesn't have a lot of evidence going forward when it comes to the kind of happiness outcomes you get and it is actually a fundamental objective of public policy in this country. and i think when you look at the paradox and look at the other research on subjective well-being out there and after at a basic level of income, it continues to make people happy
but these other things really start to metal. quality of relationships and health and the sorts of things. this desire within us is to improve ourselves. and if the system will not build up around that notion that you're actually not where you need to be right now but that is a lifelong pursuit of success, fulfilling potential, becoming is something i think has been lost and i think the therapeutic model has damaged it pretty seriously. i remember when i was teaching one of my classes in texas, it was a public policy course and i would do this one segment on political biases and i would have students read a variety of things including some jonathan heights work from the righteous mind which talks about the moral language is essential that progressives and conservatives speak and i had a student say to me, just reject that. one of the findings and i said what do you mean? and she said it makes me uncomfortable. and yet these expressions and i
say this is experiments in serious research behind these findings. and it didn't matter is one of those expressions that it makes me comfortable, i don't like what he says about people and i will choose not to believe it. and i think that is, essentially kind of where we are. >> let's talk about where we go from here. you mentioned the need for a cradle identity. but as you also pointed out, civic knowledge is down.and even people like ben sasse the said will really need is a new civic catechesis as a precursor. if you could develop a civic catechesis, what would it be? >> well, that is -- i mean it obviously would require a certain knowledge of history because you would have to be
able -- you can understand institutionalist you know where they came from. it would require settlement of theory because it is theory as to how constitutional government is actually supposed to work. i think actually in the current age i would add some other stuff that wouldn't be in a traditional civic education class because for example, turns out a lot of students including very sophisticated ones, do not know how to judge the authenticity and the authority of things they read on the internet. anything actually civics skill that's become very important is developing that ability to distinguish between more or less credible sources of information. this is not a -- thought there any great length but it will be the basic components of it. >> and one of the points that you made, ryan, you say and necessary precondition to any kind of developmental identity
would be the reinvigoration of a liberal arts tradition. why is it and what would look like? >> i think there's a lot in the past it would be good if we remain committed to it. i think the core body of classic texts and really, at the university level, having something a little more like -- would not be a bad thing. there certainly a body of knowledge but i think they can have a modern liberal arts. it is not just supposed to impart a body of knowledge but also cultivate abilities and skills la to lead and to participate in democratic life. and we've lived a lot more in less 25 years. we've learned about that there -- the behaviors that the scholars are running about are
typically behaviors we used to say that you're supposed to develop, the availability to form arguments, the ability to analyze, to make judgments, to stand up in front of people and make an argument and be able to critique an argument. the sorts of things which we have new tools actually cultivating that which i think could also be used. it is not just dusting off a book and read them. there are methods and tools we have now that we didn't use to which i think would be, it would really work well. >> will turn out to the most dynamic part of the evening conversation which is hearing from you. those of you who have been to an event before know that we are free guidelines for questions from the audience. we simply ask that all questions be brief, all questions be civil, and all questions be in the form of a question. [laughter] >> we have our crackerjack interns around the room with microphones. please wait to be recognized. have a microphone in front of
you before going to town. questions from the audience. right here in the middle. maybe you can stand up so your easier to see. thank you. >> okay, my name is michael smith. thank you for being here. i just finished about this week and i'm still processing to some extent. i recognize as well that part of the linkages of talking about the sorts of ideas, is self answering the ideas something recognize your book as well, as a society, modifies the ideas we have and the ideas we have impacted by that there is something cyclical at work. i had a little bit of trouble tracing this idea of identity from plato, all the way to
identity politics today.you reference look you -- the way i understood that suggests that there is something the individual recognizes that is intrinsically wrong with behavior undertaken. where if you follow the threat to the present day, identity politics would suggest that which one identifies was good for oneself is the same as what's good for oneself.my question in brief, with a question mark, this idea that appeared with plato, with the present day that identity is that which we think it is or is there a further identity somewhere deeper down that is who we are independently how we think of ourselves?
>> well, i think one of the characters, characteristics of the modern concept of identity is that we think that the hidden inner identity is authentic and is you know, something real. and we may not even know exactly what it is but we feel that the authentic self is one that we morally value. it seems to me your question is asking, how does it relate to actually whether it is something morally value or not? i've no idea how to answer that.i think it is a psychological phenomenon, you have to understand the structure, this is what charles taylor explicates a thing very fully. the structure of modern itel annuity invalidates that inner self whatever it is. it is a plenitude of creative
expressive feeling. it could be a group ã connection with folk. where connected to our s nose. there are a lot of different forms of it. and whether that is somehow you know transcendently valid or not i don't know how to answer that question. i suspect in most cases it's not. >> is there something want to add on plato? [laughter] all right. well, we will go to the front. who has the microphone? maybe right here. right here. >> hi there. as an australian part of western civilization from a country where we have rotated
several in a short amount of time is quite clear to us that what they experience in the uk and the u.s. isn't inherently unique. we just experience in different way because i suppose the institutions might function a little differently. so my question would be, where does a country that hasn't quite ended up where the u.s. has, where do we start to learn how to avoid this current situation? [laughter] >> yeah. so that is actually very interesting question. canada and australia both have higher proportions of their population born outside of the country than the united states. united states right now is about 15 percent. i think that you know canada is up to 22 or 23 percent. australia may be around 20 or so. and yet, you really have not had a serious populist
movement, there's no serious populist movement in canada right now. this could all change tomorrow but is an interesting question as to why that is the case. my hypothesis would be something as follows. what's driving populism in the united states and in europe, is not simply racism, phobia and a level of more and more people in the country, it actually has to do with other things like for example, the degree to which a country is actually in control of its borders and degree to which it can select the kinds of people that it is legally allowed in both canada and australia have skill-based immigration policies in the both have very little illegal immigration. history has gotten a lot of criticism for this because he
stick all the refugees on new guinea and places like that, that is not a nice way to treat refugees on the other hand, maybe that is an expiration for you have avoided this kind of right-wing backlash you know country that has become really really multicultural very rapidly. so this is why i wanted to get into this discussion of immigration because among other things i think that there is a common assumption that opposition to immigration is simply the result of the majority population resenting the fact that people that don't look like them are sort of driven by basic racism and phobia. but australian and canadian cases suggest to me that there are other factors.some of which are more legitimate than racism. and once has to do with the fact whether your society is actually in control of the process. the other actually has to do
with a point i should have mentioned earlier which is assimilation. i think you can legitimately worry about immigration. you can legitimately worry about whether immigrants are going to be able to successfully assimilate to the national culture assuming it is democratic open and so on and so forth. that is a reasonable worry or reason to worry about immigration. and that may also be a factor you know that is playing into the debates and in your country and elsewhere may explain why you have that difference and why you have not found this american route. >> other questions? over here. >> it's coming. >> from india on a visit. i'm so glad to have been here.
very simple question. i have the impression that human beings tend to exaggerate. so on economy and there is bound to be a culture identity -- if not, it is bound to come. and it is bound to exaggerate. what do you think, mr. francis? >> yes, i think it is probably a general principle i think the question is how do you see it actually playing out in contemporary politics? i think that the way that i would illustrate that principle has to do with political correctness. because political correctness arises out of identity politics in certain ways.
you don't want to say things are perceived as particular identity groups. you need to be careful of the language used and so forth. i think that in itself has driven a lot of people to support someone like donald trump who is you know, gets a lot of credit for saying what he really thinks even if it is racist, phobic, hateful, because at least he is authentic. and it does seem kind of a face of one form of speech actually triggering a reaction on the other side. so i don't know whether that is a good example of what you are trying to illustrate but i do think that it is one of the elements now playing on our policies where i think that is why donald trump can get away with saying all these really disgraceful things because people say i may not agree with his particular comment about women or football players or whatnot but if he is saying
what he really thinks and that is something that maybe politicians are willing to do. >> in the back there. if you can stand up so you are more visible. >> thank you for coming. my name is bishop davidson. your grounding of dignity and some sort of christian tradition coming primarily out of moral agency or moral choice. i think is in part right but you are surely aware of maybe this other alternative idea that is -- or something along what ryan streeter had to say in terms of transcendence. and your conclusion and what is to be done in the end of the book regarding this credo identity.
is that any concession to transcendence? pressing away from a place where identities are oriented around our choices and come to a place where they are more unified behind something transcendental? >> you know, i think as a realistic project, getting any kind of agreement on you know, transcendental grounding for identity will be pretty difficult. i think that you know one of the fact of the matter is that national identity in this country is going to have to be pretty thin. because it is such a diverse country. unity think about like an oilfield work in louisiana versus a waiter in san francisco. you know in terms of all of the things that culture will hold in common, religion, even things like sports, dress, cuisine. all of these things are
different. for these different groups in the country. and so unlike europe where you actually again, they've got away from this but i think they have a much thicker culture based on much more or much deeper historical traditions of shared experience. that manifests itself in things like food and dress and speech and so forth. we don't have that in the united states. any kind of identity is going to have to be fairly thin. it will have to be things that will be acceptable to people that come out of really different religious traditions or traditional religion. and that means that i think has to be basically political. it has to be built around certain beliefs that we are actually have to shunt aside the discussion of where the grounding of the beliefs come from because you know, the
natural right that jefferson talks about, 11 americans disagree with that. that it is possible to ground things. in fact i had a long discussion with richard, head of amnesty international about human rights. where do human rights come from, what are they grounded in? and he said well, they're basically just evolved over time with the culture produced? >> in china have a culture that does not believe in our human rights. and he said no, i mean but you know, he didn't have any grounding for this? someone i can would not make an argument like that. i think unfortunately, we never going to get agreement on those kinds of principles.
therefore we have to fall back on political ideas that we commonly accept and allows us to live together in a pragmatic way, if you can do other things and and other virtues to it i didn't mention this but national service is a good idea. to be on playing taxes and obeying the law is a way of cultivating a sense of active citizenship. so if i can get that point it would be a good thing. anything beyond that, i suspect we will not get to. >> you talk about transcendence. anything to add? >> i was speaking more in generalities to make it less sort of lofty. the idea that we have basic
rights enshrined in law which are rights but whether we like them or not we think of them the same way as someone else's is an important thing. i think, and i think that we can actually re-cultivate an interest in these kind of enduring and permanent things without having to have discussions about the sort of -- getting theological. i think in 1971 it was written, the entire experience or experiment the most famous part of this book, would not even be possible without sort of an idea that there was a universal application for this notion of justice and that book today, could not even really be published in the identities fraud environment because you cannot claim to actually know outside the people group. so the understanding of justice and that is just one example, is an example of some
presupposed principles that are just, they are just true, whatever institutions are based on we should on-- unapologetically speak of them. >> one last question. >> we will go right here. yes. >> thank you so much. my question in the current political situation in europe, because a lot of my friends and i often discuss this topic why populism identity politics is on the rise and this is their socialist tradition used to be pretty strong through the 20th century. so this has to some extent, some confusion that why populism is on the rise there.
>> you know, i think it kind of depends on the country. in a way, the strongest populist movements have been in eastern europe. we really do have a lot of these kind of political parties and leaders like hungary and poland and the czech republic and so forth. part of that is i think that eastern europe went directly from communism to democracy without this foregoing cultural liberalization of its society. it is very ironic that they have this anti-immigrant populist, these movements because they don't have foreigners there. [laughter] >> immigration into these countries is almost zeros. for them it is a completely theoretical issue. they are saying to themselves, we do not want to become like the netherlands or france. because they actually have never had this slow process of learning to live with diverse minority populations that don't look like you. and so i think that is what's
driving their. in other parts of europe, is more similar thing to what's going on in the united states. if you look at where marine le pen, northeastern france, the most the industrialized part of the country it became the industrial heartland of france in the 19th century and then, has gone into this long-term decline. and so there i think the factors can explain a lot of the voting patterns. >> okay the last for the chance word, ryan. >> i think i agree with what francis just said. [laughter] >> i think you have a, depending on what country you're talking about, you're very serious assimilation issues which he referred to earlier. the sense of identity which is much more, much less creole in more in the history of the country. it seems like they just really cannot assimilate very well. when you increase the people
that didn't grow up in a country that creates a backlash. i think that is across the continent. >> francis, ryan, thank you. [applause] >> here are some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to publishers weekly. topping the list is becoming, michelle obama is reflections on her life and her time as first lady. after that it is a collection of the late columnist charles krauthammer essays. followed by picture book on president trump and his response to hurricane florence. by the staff of the late show with stephen colbert. whose boat is this boat? in killing the ss billo'reilly and martin to -- wrapping up some of the best-selling nonfiction books according to
publishers weekly, is terry westover 's memoir about her life working up in the idaho mountains. in her introduction to formal education at age 17 in, educated. some of these authors have appeared on booktv and you can watch them online at booktv.org. ... the >> in and i'm booked to the assembly program "in depth" a pulitzer prize-winning author geraldine brooks. her books include "march,"